why is it that i hear screams in the night. when i close my eyes, and it’s quiet. flashbacks of you, having to be restrained. you biting, biting. i’m bleeding. memories of you strapped down, pulled full of ketamine. close your eyes, close your eyes. i’m pleading.
please lift me, lift me
the worms are making their way
into my nostrils as we speak
please fix me, fix me
bones are broken, can barely crawl
I am so weak
please save me, save me
soul left, sin eating me up
I’m not complete
please forgive me, forgive me
you can’t recognize that happiness
you wore twelve years ago
your eyes so full of stupid hope
before it hit you, before he hit you
now you have to force the
gold into your brown
darken that kohl to match your fading hair
listen to post’s “blame it on me”
invite that pervert in
to taste your dried up lipstick
make you look away to blush
and wait for the flames to hit
it appeared that there were
dead cranes on the side of the road
their graceful necks draped over the curb,
beautiful yet useless
much like our forgotten conversations
it all makes sense now, since I no
longer recognize my
laugh from the photographs
thrown all over the floor
tiptoe around them like a
doomed choreographed ballet,
beautiful yet useless
this beauty gots to even out the ugly
the motion gots to keep you steady
yet every day is just the same
left is right, this way is that way
the sun is square, the sky is brown
your sad is mad, your up is down
the beauty gots to even out this ugly
this hope gots to get you ready
if an angel were with skin, this is the skin she’d be in
and it gladdens my heart that he was there
with his red plaid falling in love with you
when you were tired of running
you thought we’d be abandoned
but, look at us dear, we’re still standing
I admire your spirit, your laughter
your view on this entire situation gone mad
the way you send prayers to stop me feeling sad
so sad, which confirms my thinking
that if an angel were with skin
it’s your skin she’d be in
had a dream that I was playing the violin last night.
their scrolls were bobbing in the ice, the vapor was
freezing on the strings.
made me want to reach for my rosin,
but instead I felt your hand pulling me
out of my dream.
hear the static voices screaming, SHEILA!
cry out as the spirits jump on top of me,
causing me to fly much like her blossoms
that blew in our yard last night.
the flowers looked like paper mâché hearts,
the white and pink on them torn.
much like my far-gone heart, beaten and worn.
watched the wind make them scatter and I’m
wondering how I let myself even
care that they mattered.
She told me in confidence that she thought she gave birth to a beast. She looked around the room to make sure that we were alone. Her eyes darted down and she whispered it, “a monster.“ The odd thing is that his birth had been so peaceful that January evening with the air so quiet you could hear the falling snow. In the peaceful, dim-lit room with hushed voices late at night, he just slipped out. He just slipped out.
She told me that when he was born he looked like a little alien. He hardly slept for 2 years and his hunger was insatiable. When he cried her heart would race, and her eardrums would go numb. She would catch him staring in his crib at things she could not see. Stare so long, his eyes would drip water like a faucet. But he would twirl her hair when she nursed him, and she would feel the softness of his cheek so intently she’d fall in love with him all over again. She’d forgive him for all those sleepless nights and all those staring fits that would leave him unsettled and clingy.
She told me that after he became adorable, he finally learned to walk. He walked a little late. He took to the habit of running from things that weren’t there and he would fall and scream into her bosom. He would look up at the ceiling with a face of horror until Zonegran stopped the infantile spasms. He said his fan blades were covered with blood. He would see pizza on the walls and see shadows move without any light. And when they were trying to be good Catholics, he would tell her that the inside of their church smelled like old people’s burning flesh. But he looked so cute when he played on his wooden airplane. And when he wore his adorable baby blue sweater with the puppy on it, she’d fall in love with him all over again. She’d try to forget all the odd images he put in her head and those strange things he whispered in her ear. She tried to forget her anxiety over all the tests he had and the medications he tried. She’d try to crush the panic that would walk into her room in the middle of night.
She told me that when school started he had a hard time paying attention, hit the teachers, and would play chase without permission. He would cry before school would start, and his dad would have to carry him to the car while he put up a fight. But he would draw her pictures and write, I love you Mommy. He’d ask so sweetly, “do you want a hug?” She’d fall in love with him all over again. She’d forgive all those meetings she had at the school and tried not to grow jaded when explaining his situation. She was always explaining the situation.
She told me about a day in March, a few years past, when she received a call from the teacher to pick up her son early from school. She walked tall into his special classroom and apologized for the massive amounts books and chairs strewn all over the room. “Really, he knows better,” she’d say. She walked out of the building, her son’s hand in hers and made it to her car before she collapsed to cry. She cried for 2 straight hours and couldn’t even make dinner, she was too full of sorrow.
She told me that he could dream of the future and have night terrors that haunted him for weeks. He’d get up at bizarre hours of the night to gather and cut up his clothes. He’d sprinkle cinnamon all over the house 2 days before Christmas because he liked the smell. And dump baby powder all over his room because he said, “I miss the snow.” She looked surprisingly good for being awake all this time.
She told me that although he is growing up into a beautiful young man, he is taller than her now and in some ways smarter than her. But he’s moody and sad, happy and mad. Up and down he goes, round and round he goes. He’s always able to lure her into his trap. He can even catch her eyebrow twitch and it seems that he can read her mind before she speaks. He’s always inches from her and circling around her. Pecking at her, laughing at her, chasing her, and clawing at her. Unfathomable that this was the same human being that had just slipped out so effortlessly into the world.
She told me with a pensive tone that her entire being was filled with fright and even her soul, her aching soul, mourned for it to be over. And she felt betrayed because she asked me, “isn’t your soul supposed to be stronger?” Traitor, she’d call it. She said she felt empty and blank. She’d ask, “how much can one vessel hold?” And with every night that she went to bed thinking she was spent, she’d wake up and have to start it all over again. Each and every night, each and every day. She then told me that when the best place in the nation said, “your son is a candidate for our inpatient program,” she was surprised to be struck with grief instead of relief.
A few moments passed, and then she just stopped. She wiped her cheek and told me in confidence that she wanted to tempt fate in a sea of aqua glass. Feel the wind rush past her face. Witness the brown clouds get taken over by the foam. Tease the pull toward the moon and float. Revel in that and not talk about home.